Establishment Clause Viewing Guide
Access our Homework Help video on the Establishment Clause and use our viewing guide below to follow along!
Overview: The Founders feared that an established church would lead to religious persecution. What historical events impacted their beliefs, and how has the Supreme Court interpreted the Establishment Clause throughout history?
- In your own words, what is an established religion?
- Why was the Establishment Clause included in the Bill of Rights?
- What types of punishment did dissenters face in colonial America?
- Why were state governments allowed to have established religions even after the Bill of Rights was passed?
- How did the principle of incorporation impact the Establishment Clause?
- What is the Lemon Test?
- What are the three elements of the Lemon Test?
Access the answer key to the viewing guide here.
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The Establishment Clause — How Separate Are Church and State?
The original thirteen states that formed the United States included individuals from a variety of religious traditions. To ensure that the national government respected freedom of belief, freedom of conscience, and freedom of religious practice, the First Amendment prohibited the federal government from either establishing a national church or interfering with existing state religions. Since then the Supreme Court has created various "tests" to determine if government practices violate the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. This lesson explores the history and principles behind this clause.